OH, READER… Whether you are in good health or ill, whether your malaise is expressed in the body or in the anguish of the mind, you have in your hands a true story. It is about a hidden treasure, a reminder of your wealth, a call to reclaim the inheritance that is yours. Do you recall the abundance I’m talking about? The gem that was placed inside you long ago. Unseen yet irresistible, it is your essence, the one walking shoulder to shoulder with you even when you imagine that you are all alone.
Santorelli, Saki. Heal Thy Self
We are agitated beings. We need to heal. We need to reclaim what's already here: our innate, natural, healthy state of being.
We need medicine for our messy minds.
The medicine is mindfulness. It comes in doses of remembering, recalling, and recognising a capacity you already have within. This capacity can support your well-being by helping you:
- pay attention with conscious choice rather than defaulting to reactivity;
- relate to experience through directly sensing it rather than through thoughts
- bring you fully into the present moment rather than dwelling in the past or future
- approach unpleasant experience with curiosity, compassion, and friendly awareness rather than trying to avoid, escape or get rid of it
- allow things to be just as they are rather than needing things to be different
- experience thoughts as mental events rather than as true and real
- take care of yourself with self-compassion rather than subject yourself to self-criticism
This is not easy to do. It’s counter instinctual. It's a non-striving quest. It’s the work of a lifetime, and maybe a lifetime more. But it does offer something called possibility. In particular, the possibility that comes from the courage of kindness, curiosity, and self-compassion.
These are the seeds we are seeking to sow.
So let's start now.
Stop and bring awareness to the next breath you breathe.
Now bring awareness to the next few breaths you breathe. See if can give your complete undivided attention to noticing the breath breathing in and breathing out. To the breath breathing for you. To the feeling of the breath coming in your body and the feeling of the breath leaving your body.
Just allow yourself to experience the breath breathing for you.
Now let’s play a game. It’s a game you already know. It’s a game whose rules are already within you. It’s the game of following the sensations of the breath as it makes its way down to your feet. It’s a game of imagination but it’s also real.
Imagine you can follow the stream of the breath as it glides its way down to your feet. It’s amazing that you have this capacity within you: the capacity to feel the breath as it makes its way down to your feet. Maybe you can sense temperature, coolness, or warmth. Maybe you can feel tingles, fizzing, or pins and needles type sensations. Just rest your attention with the sensations you are feeling in the feet. Just see if you can bring some curiosity to this experience., like a scientist investigating what it is to feel sensations in the feet. See if you can convert this curiosity into friendly awareness. Maybe allow yourself to smile at the experience. Feel the joy, the gratitude, the appreciation of what it is to be able to feel sensations in your feet: oh, I see, so this is what it’s like to feel sensations in the feet.
Now broaden your focus so you can bring friendly awareness to other sensations. To sensations in the body as a whole. Maybe there are tingles, maybe heat, maybe pulse, vibration. Perhaps there’s some sudden surge of sensation. Perhaps there’s discomfort, an itch or an ache you can feel.
It’s all a bit random, isn’t it? It’s all a bit unexpected. It’s all a bit beyond your control.
Welcome to your design. The invitation is to come home to what’s already here for you. To be with the energy of what’s already here. To be with the energy of this design. In doing so, you’re giving yourself permission to not be attached to any outcome. You are just observing, just being curious, just bringing friendly awareness to whatever the experience is. Just accepting the fullness of you in this present moment. The fullness of you as it is arising in the body. This body. Your body.
Just experiencing the fullness of possibility that comes from cultivating this awareness.
See if you can just soften up. Soften up and soften into sensations in the body. Be kind to yourself about what you are experiencing. Maybe smile. Smile and be kind to yourself. Maybe in the same way as you would smile and show kindness and soothing patience to a little puppy dog or kitten. You already know that you already have the capacity for this kindness and soothing patience. You've already experienced it, somewhere at some time. So maybe now is the time to reclaim that capacity. Maybe now is the time for reclaiming being in a place of knowing within you. Knowing that you are already mindful. Knowing that you already have this capacity for friendly awareness within you. Knowing that you can bring awareness to this breath, this body, right now.
Knowing that you already have the medicine for your messy mind.